The toughest fight of Muhammad Ali’s career was not against Sonny Liston or Joe Frazier in the ring, but in the court of public opinion when he refused to serve in the Vietnam War and was vilified as the fighter who would not fight for America. The ever-charismatic and outspoken Ali, born Cassius Clay, converted to Islam as a 22-year-old, following his mentor Elijah Muhammad of the controversial Nation of Islam. When he refused to serve in Vietnam on conscientious grounds he was banned from boxing and stripped of his title, as well as sentenced to a 5-year prison term. Ali appealed, supporting himself and his family with a nationwide speaking tour. In a fascinating inside scoop from a former Supreme Court clerk, the film reveals how the Justices went from initially not even planning to review Ali’s case, to eventually overturning it unanimously. The Trials of Muhammad Ali masterfully combines famous footage with previously unseen material to examine how one of the most celebrated sports champions of the 20th century risked his fame and fortune to follow his faith and conscience. Directed by Bill Siegel (The Weather Underground)
Showtime is 7:15pm. We'll meet in the lobby starting at 6:45pm and head into the film at 7:10pm or so.